Mario Kart DS (DS) review
"Iíll spare you the traditional lectures at the beginning of reviews for Mario games. Iím not going to go on about how Nintendo just loves shoving the little red plumber into every genre ever created (coming soon: Mario Tournament 2007) and Iím certainly not going to question or even call attention to the fact that Nintendo loves to take the same game and release it over and over again for every system. Youíve heard it all before and youíre probably sicker of it than I am. So, I won..."
Iíll spare you the traditional lectures at the beginning of reviews for Mario games. Iím not going to go on about how Nintendo just loves shoving the little red plumber into every genre ever created (coming soon: Mario Tournament 2007) and Iím certainly not going to question or even call attention to the fact that Nintendo loves to take the same game and release it over and over again for every system. Youíve heard it all before and youíre probably sicker of it than I am. So, I wonít keep you from enjoying this Mario Kart DS review any longer. Essentially, Mario Kart DS is the same as Mario Kart SNES, Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart Advance, and Mario Kart Double-Dash. Did you like those? Hey, buy this if youíve got a DS. Youíll enjoy it, I promise. Did you hate them? I suggest you donít buy Mario Kart DS.
The basic gameplay mechanics are the same ones weíve seen in the other nearly half-dozen iterations of this series before, except that there arenít two riders in each kart as we saw in Mario Kart Double-Dash. Mario Kart DS puts you into the driverís seat as Mario or a variety of other characters (totaling about a dozen) from Marioís past and pits you up against 7 tenacious rivals across landmarks of the series. Youíll be burning rubber through the deserts of Super Mario Bros. 3 while dodging cacti, pulling power-slides around tight corners while running from the ghosts of Super Mario World, and youíll even be passing your rivals through Luigiís Mansion. Along the way, youíll have to utilize some collectable powerups to the best of your advantage if you hope to win one of the coveted trophies in the Grand Prix mode.
None of these additions are really ďoriginalĒ or anything. There are some new powerups like the squid from Super Mario Bros. II that makes the screen of your rival turn black. You can also drift behind people, which allows you to ride right up behind them for a few seconds to gain a boost to pass them. But, outside of a few new tracks that arenít very dissimilar from the few old tracks, thatís pretty much it. Thatís not a bad thing though. In fact, Iím quite comfortable with it. The single-player mode was perfected a long time ago and doesnít really need to be tinkered with at all. I mean, honestly, a billion kart racers have emerged since Mario Kart was first released and none of them have topped that original SNES game. I might give Nintendo a lot of shit for re-re-re-releasing things, but they know how to make a good Mario Kart game.
Nintendo did new things in the multiplayer department and this is where the game kicks ass. Using the wireless technology built into the DS, you can not only play wirelessly against your friends that might be sitting across the room from you, but you can also play against people online from around the world. Mario Kart was always built around multiplayer and the excellent multiplayer in this version should be your number one reason for picking it up. Hell, if you donít have a DS you might even consider buying one for it if you like playing Mario Kart multiplayer. The DS has enough power to keep up with the demands of vigorous racing for up to eight competitors wirelessly (four online) and to keep the action up when youíve only got two or three players, the game will inject a few CPU opponents to spice things up.
Sure, Mario Kart DS doesnít do much with the touch screen, but I donít care. The touch screen simply displays a map normally that makes the game a hell of a lot easier on the easier difficulties because you can see every turn and obstacle coming up well before you get there. But I donít care. The game looks really good too, with a very acceptable distance draw and no framerate dips. It's been ten years since Mario Kart came out and this game is still fun as hell. This latest addition for the DS might not make the best use of all of the hardware, but it still proves to be one of the top entries in the series.
Community review by asherdeus (April 03, 2006)
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